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tv   State of the Union Address  ABC  January 12, 2016 9:00pm-10:30pm EST

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this is an abc news special. >> the united states of america will emerge stronger than before. jobs must be our number one focus. we need to outeducate and outbuild the rest of the world. we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot. gabby giffords deserves a vote. the families of newtown deserve a vote. i believe, when women succeed, america suck seeds. in my six years in office, i have seen america at its best. >> right now, with so much on the line, with the country on edge -- >> the threat from terrorism is real. we will destroy isil. >> and just days after this moment, the president, emotional, moved to tears, taking on guns in america. >> every time i think about those kids, it gets me mad. >> and facing a republican congress, fighting for their priorities. now, tonight, for his final time, president obama stands
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what does he want you to know on this historic night? >> i don't think i have ever been more optimistic about a year ahead than i am right now. >> from abc news, live from the nation's capital, the state of the union address and the republican response. now reporting, george stephanopoulos. >> good evening and welcome to our coverage of president obama's final state of the union union. the president about to enter the house chamber for the seventh and last time. under an optimistic speech, ready to make the case that america is strong under his leadership. but he'll be speaking tonight to a congress that doesn't buy it and a country that doesn't believe it. with seven out of ten americans convinced we're heading in the wrong direction. and late today, new wrinkle, word that two u.s. navy boats to troll patrolling in the persian gulf have been on stained by iranian authorities. martha raddatz here with the latest on that breaking news. >> george, the u.s. sailors were transiting from kuwait to
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apparently had mechanical trouble. it drifted into iranian territorial waters, say u.s. officials. that's what they believe happened. the sailors were taken in by the iranian revolutionary guard navy. they remain there tonight but we are optimistic, say u.s. officials, that they will be released soon, probably by morning in the persian gulf. in fact, vice president biden said on the way into the chamber tonight, i think it is going to turn out well. >> and we saw secretary of state kerry there, he spoke to the iranian foreign minister today. but the timing here quite curious, ahead of the president's state of the union and also this vote tomorrow on sanctions in the house. >> of course. and of course we all have to remember, there is the nuclear deal, so, i think that helped this along. the united states has somewhat better relationship with iran. secretary kerry immediately calling his counterpart about this to try to get a resolution. >> the white house determined
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the president putting out a tweet, saying i'm treating this last state of the union just like my first because i'm still just as hungry, i hope you tune in, because it's for you. want to go to "world news tonight" anchor david muir. that's the tweet from the president right there, but the white house also saying that this is going to be a different kind of state of the union. >> you're right, george. in fact, senior white house officials confirming to me today that this is going to be a very different state of the union from what we've heard before from this president. the president remembering that very first one, that call to mr. speaker, that the president had arrived behind that door. for one senior white house official, say this is going to be shorter. he's not going to be listing policy objectives. but this is a president very aware of the rhetoric, the discourse in this country, particularly during this campaign season. and particularly on the republican side. make america great again. this president is going to try to make the case tonight that this country is great, his hope of what can still be accomplished in his final year and straight through election day. and quite frankly, george, up here on the hill, republicans
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in fact, the newly elected house speaker paul ryan saying today, joking with reporters that he practiced his poker face throughout the day today because as we all know, he has a role tonight to perform, as well. when does he applaud, when does he smile and simply sit there? america going to be watching this president and the new house speaker, as well, george. >> we see them right there. next to the vice president. he hoped to be vice president before that. jon karl is in the chamber, and jon, this house chamber, decidedly less friendly to the president than the first one he faced seven years ago. >> that's right. it is incredible to what's happened to what was a democratic majority when he first walk into this chamber as president of the united states. there are 80 fewer democrats in this chamber tonight than there were on that night. he has had major legislative accomplishments, particularly in the first two years in office, but suffered dramatic defeats, of course, in 2010 and in 2014. this is in many ways hostile
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he is going to come in here as david mentioned, with a very optimistic message. you heard him in the open say he's never been more optimistic going into a new year. that is not the view of the republican majority in this chamber. as you mentioned, it is also not the view of the majority of americans. in fact, we heard from paul ryan this morning, saying, and this is an exact quote, george, the world is on fire. talking about the various foreign policy crisis and saying this president just hasn't done enough to deal with the crisis with isis. >> let's keep an eye on paul ryan right now. looks like he's about to announce announce. >> mr. speaker! the president of the united states! >> paul irving, the house sergeant of arms. the president about to enter the chamber for the last time to give the state of the union address. members of congress have been lining up for hours to have a chance to meet the president.
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dowd, our political analyst, and david muir mentioned this, as well, somewhat hostile house chamber. even more hostile out on the campaign trail right now. and the candidates all tapping into this anger and anxiety in the country. >> i think this has to be an incredible balancing act by the president tonight. he wants to list out all the accomplishments that he's done over the course of his time in office as well as the optimism has he has for future, but this is a country that's dissatisfied and distrustful, what that perceive as a dysfunctional government in washington, d.c. he came in, his first inaugural address, he talked about getting past all the discord and conflict and he's faced today with a country that is in much as discord as we've seen in a generation. >> part of the message tonight, we have to fix our politics. big smile on the president's face. pierre thomas, we all remember the president's tears last week, speaking about the gun issue.
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next thougho the first lady tonight to symbolize the victims of gun violence in america. such a frustrating issue for this president. >> that chair symbolizing the victims and the pain and the frustration forever the president, despite all those mass shootings, despite newtown and those dead children. the president crying last week because he knows he's not been able to get any major legislation passed in this congress and he won't before he leaves office. >> and pierre, the homeland security chairman, jeh designated survivor, he's on watch every day for an issue that's made so many americans anxious, the threat from isis. >> the threat from isis is more imminent than any threat from terrorism the country's faced sing 9/11. isis has been able to maximize the use of social media, to the point they have people inside the united states who are prepared to attack at any moment. in fact, the fbi has arrested 70 people in the last two years
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lone wolves and we saw that in san bernardino. >> we're joined by hugh hewitt tonight, as well, as the president greets the members of the supreme court. and that issue of the fight against isis, one that republican candidates and members of congress have been emphasizing. they want to hear a strategy from the president tonight. >> ben sass tweeted out earlier that that's his number one job. he should mention the navy sailors that are being held tonight. but it might be the president's last state of the union, it's paul ryan's first, and may he be there for decades more. this glorious pageant, when you have vice president biden and speaker ryan, last time i saw them together, they were debating each other and that's the upside of tonight. downside is what you said earlier, that congress isn't buying what the president is selling. >> president walking up to the podium right now. cokie roberts, picking up on that point, you had members of congress sitting next to each other in the chamber, that is short-lived. >> a lot of those people were
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people are divided, and the president's approval is equally divided, about half and half, think he's doing a good job. and so, you have that tension there, but as hugh just said, great pageantry and it's pretty hard to run down the country when you are looking at something like this. >> first lady in a vibrant dress tonight, as well, as we listen to the president. handing his copies of his speech speech. jon karl, what is that cheer there? >> fired up and ready to go.
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the speech. >> members of congress, i have the high privilege and the distinct honor of presenting you to, the president of the united states. >> mary bruce also in statuary hall. he got the first lines out okay. >> this is a big moment for the speaker tonight. no question about it. his first chance to be standing there behind the president and he is having a little bit of fun with it. in addition to practicing his poker face, he had the audience help pick out his tie he is wearing tonight. >> members of congress, my fellow americans. tonight marks the eighth year that i've come here to report on the state of the union. and for this final one, i'm
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shorter. i know some of you are antsy to get back to iowa. i've been there. i'll be shaking hands afterwards if you want some tips. now, i understand that because it's an election season, expectations for what we will achieve this year are low. but mr. speaker, i appreciate the constructive approach that you and other leaders took at the end of last year to make a budget and make tax cuts permanent for working families, so, i hope we can work together this year and some bipartisan priorities, like criminal justice reform and helping --
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and helping people who are battling prescription drug abuse and heroin abuse. [ applause ] so, who knows? we might surprise the cynics again. but tonight, i want to go easy on the tradition alyce of proposals for the year. don't worry, i've gone plenty, from helping students learn computer code, and i will keep pushing for progress on the work that i believe still needs to be done. fixing a broken immigration system. protecting our kids from gun violence. equal pay for equal work. paid leave. raising the minimum wage.
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things still matter to hard-working families. they're still the right thing to do. and i won't let up until they get done. but for my final address to this chamber, i don't want to just talk about next year. i want to focus on the next five years. the next ten years. and beyond. i want to focus on our future. we live in a time of extraordinary change. change that's reshaping the way we live, the way we work, our planet, our place in the world. it's changed the promise of medical breakthroughs, but also economic disruptions that strain working families. it promises education for girls in the most remote villages and also connects terrorists
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it's change that can broaden opportunity or widen inequality. and whether we like it or not, the pace of this change will only acceleration. america's been through big changes before. wars and depression. the influx of new immigrants. workers fighting for a fair deal. movements to expand civil rights. each time there have been those who told us to fear the future. who claimed we could slam the brakes on change. who promised to restore past glory, if we just got some group or idea that was threatening america under control. and each time we overcame those fears. we did not, in the words of
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the quiet past. instead, we thought anew. and acted anew. we made change work for us, always extending america's promise outward to the next frontier. to more people. and because we did, because we saw opportunity where others saw peril, we emerged stronger and better than before. what was true then can be true now. our unique strengths as a nation nation, our optimism and work ethic, our spirit of discovery, our diversity, our commitment to
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us everything we need to ensure prosperity and security for generations to come. in fact, it's in that spirit that we have made progress these past seven years. that's how we recovered from the worst economic crisis in generations. [ applause ] that's how we reformed our health care system and reinvented our energy sector. [ applause ] that's how -- that's how we delivered more care and benefits to our troops coming home and our veterans.
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that's how we -- [ applause ] that's how we secured the freedom in every state to marry the person we love. [ applause ] but such progress is not inevitable. it's the result of choices we make. together. and we face such choices right now. will we respond to the changes of our time with fear, turning inward as a nation, turning against each other as a people or will we face the future with
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what we stand for? and the incredible things that we can do together. so, let's talk about the future. and four big questions that i believe we as a country have to answer, regardless of who the next president is. or who controls the next congress. first -- how do we give everyone a fair shot at opportunity and security in this new economy? [ applause ] second -- how do we make technology work for us and not against us, especially when it comes to solving urgent challenges like climate change? [ applause ] third -- how do we keep america
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becoming its policeman? [ applause ] and finally, how can we make our politics reflect what's best in us and not what's worst? [ applause ] let me start with the economy and a basic fact. the united states of america, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world. we're in the middle of the longest streak of private sector
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[ applause ] more than 14 million new jobs, the strongest two years of job growth since the 1990s, an unemployment rate cut in half. our auto industry just had its best year ever. [ applause ] that's just part of a manufacturing surge that's created nearly 900,000 new jobs in the past six years. and we've done all this while cutting our deficits by almost three-quarters. [ applause ] anyone claiming that america's economy is in decline is pedaling fiction. now, what is true, and the
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feel anxious, is that the economy has been changing in profound ways. changes that started long before the great recession hit, changes that have not let up. today, technology doesn't just replace jobs on the assembly line. but any job where work can be auto automated. companies in a global economy can locate anywhere. and they face tougher competition. as a result, workers have less leverage for a raise. companies have less loyalty to their communities. and more and more wealth and income is concentrated at the very top. all these trends have squeezed workers. even when they have jobs. even when the economy is
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it's made it harder for a hard-working family to pull harder for young people to start their careers. tougher for workers to retire when they want to. and although none of these trends are unique to america, they do offend our uniquely american belief that everybody who works hard should get a fair shot. for the past seven years, our goal has been a growing economy that also works better for everybody. we've made progress. but we need to make more. and despite all the political arguments that we've had these past few years, there are actually some areas where americans broadly agree. we agree that real opportunity requires every american to get
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need to land a good-paying job. the bipartisan reform of no child left behind was an important start. and together, we've increased early childhood education, lifted high school graduation rates to new highs, boosted graduates in fields like engineering. in the coming years, we should build on that progress by providing pre-k for all and offering every student -- [ applause ] offering every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one. we should recruit and support more great teachers for our kids. [ applause ]
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affordable for every american. [ applause ] no hard-working student should be stuck in the red. we've already reduced student loan payments to 10% of a borrower's income. and that's good. but now, we've actually got to cut the cost of college. providing two years of community college at no cost for every responsible student is one of the best ways to do that, and i'm going to keep fighting to get that started this year. it's the right thing to do. [ applause ] but a great education isn't all
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we also need benefits and protections that provide a basic measure of security. it's not too much of a stretch to say that some of the only people in america who are going to work the same job in the same place with a health and retirement package for 30 years are sitting in this chamber. for everyone else, especially folks in their 40s and 50s, saving for retirement or bouncing back from job loss has gotten a lot tougher. americans understand that at some point in their careers, in this new economy, they may have to retool, they may have to retrain. but they shouldn't lose what they've already worked so hard to build in the process. that's why social security and medicare are more important than ever. we shouldn't weaken them.
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[ applause ] and for americans short of retirement, basic benefits should be just as mobile as everything else is today. that, by the way, is what the affordable care ability is all about. employer-based care so that when you lose a job or you go back to school or you strike out and launch that new business, you'll still have coverage. nearly 18 million people have gained coverage so far and in the process -- [ applause ] in the process, health care inflation has slowed and our businesses have created jobs
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became law. now, i'm guessing we won't agree on health care any time soon. but -- applause right there. just a guess. but there should be other ways parties can work together to improve economic security. say a hard-working american loses his job. we shouldn't just make sure that he can get unemployment insurance, we should make sure that program encouraging him to retrain for a business that's ready to hire him. if that new job doesn't pay as much, there should be a system of wage insurance in place so that he can still pay his bills. and even if he's going from job to job, he should still be able to save for retirement and take his savings with him. that's the way we make the new economy work better for
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i also know speaker ryan has talked about his interest in tackling poverty. america's about giving everybody willing to work a chance, a hand up. and i'd welcome a serious discussion on things we can all support. but there are some areas where we just have to be honest, it has been difficult to find agreement over the last seven years. and a lot of them fall under the category of what role the government should play in making sure the system's not rigged in favor of the wealthiest and biggest corporations. and it's an honest disagreement.
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choice to make. i believe a thriving private sector is the life blood of our economy. i think there are outdated regulations that need to be changed. there is red tape that needs to be cut. there you go. yeah. [ applause ] but after years now of record corporate profits, working families won't get more opportunity or bigger paychecks just by letting big banks or big oil or hedge funds make their own rules that everybody ss at everybody else's expense.
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going to feel more secure because we allowed a tax on collective bargaining to go unanswered. food stamp recipients did not cause the financial crisis. recklessness on wall street did. [ applause ] immigrants aren't the principle reason wages haven't gone up. those decisions are made in the board rooms that all too often put quarterly earnings over long-term returns. it's sure not the average family watching tonight that avoids paying taxes through offshore accounts. the point is, i believe that in this new economy, workers and startups and small businesses need more of a voice, not less.
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and i'm not alone in this. this year, i plan to lift up the many businesses who figured out that doing right by their workers or their customers or their communities ends up being good for their shareholders. and i want to spread those best practices across america. that's part of a brighter future. [ applause ] in fact, it turns out, many of our best corporate citizens are also our most creative. and this brings me to the second big question we as a country have to answer. how do we reignite that spirit of innovation to meet our biggest challenges? 60 years ago, when the russians beat us into space, we didn't deny sputnik was up there. we didn't argue about the
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and development budget. we built a space program almost overnight and 12 years later, we were walking on the moon. [ applause ] that spirit of discovery is in our dna. america is thomas edison and the wright brothers and george washington carver. america is grace hopper and katherine johnson and sally ride. america is every immigrant and entrepreneur from boston to looking to bring a better future. that's who we are.
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we've nurtured that spirit. we've protected an open internet and taken bold new steps to get more students and low income americans online. we've launched next generation manufacturing hubs and online tools to give an entrepreneur everything he or she needs to start a business in a single day. but we can do so much more. last year, vice president biden said that with a new moon shot, america can cure cancer. last month, he worked with this congress to give scientists at the national institutes of health the strongest resources that they've had in over a
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[ applause ] so tonight, i'm announcing a new national effort to get it done. and because he's gone to the mat for all of us on so many issues over the past 40 years, i'm putting joe in charge of mission control. for the loved ones we've all lost, for the families that we can still save, let's make america the country that cures cancer once and for all. what do you say, joe? let's make it happen. [ applause ] medical research is critical. we need the same level of commitment when it comes to developing clean energy sources.
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dispute the science around climate change, have at it. you will be pretty lonely. because you'll be debating our military, most of america's business leaders, the majority of the american people, almost the entire scientific community and 200 nations around the world who agree it's a problem and intend to solve it. [ applause ] but even if -- even if the planet wasn't at stake, even if 2014 wasn't the warmest year on record, until 2015 turned out to be even hotter. why would we want to pass up the chance for american businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future?
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listen -- seven years ago, we made the single biggest investment in clean energy in our history. here are the results. in fields from iowa to texas, wind power is now cheaper than dirtier, conventional power. on rooftops from arizona to new york, solar is saving americans tens of millions of dollars a year on their energy bills and employs more americans than coal, in jobs that pay better than average. we're taking steps to give homeowners the freedom to generate and store their own energy. something, by the way, that environmentalists and tea partiers have teamed up to support. meanwhile, we've cut our imports of foreign oil by nearly 60%.
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than any other country on earth. [ applause ] gas under two bucks a gallon ain't bad, either. now we've got to acceleration the transition away from old, dirtier energy sources. rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future. especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels. we do them no favor when we don't show them where the trends are going. and that's why i'm going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the cost they impose on taxpayers and our planet. and that way, we put money back into those communities and put tens of thousands of americans
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transportation system. [ applause ] now -- none of this is going to happen overnight. and, yes, there are plenty of entrenched interests who want to protect the status quo. but the jobs we'll create, the money we'll save, the planet we'll preserve, that is the kind of future our kids and our grandkids deserve. and it's within our grasp. climate change is just one of many issues where our security is linked to the rest of the world. and that's why the third big question that we have to answer together is how to keep america safe and strong without either isolating ourselves or trying to nation-build everywhere there's a problem.
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of america's economic decline is political hot air? well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and america getting weaker. let me tell you something. the united states of america is the most powerful nation on earth. period. period. it's not even close. it's not even close. [ applause ] it's not even close. we spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined. our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of
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[ applause ] no nation attacks us directly or our allies, because they know that's the past to ruin. surveys show our standing around the world is higher than when i was elected to this office and when it comes to every important international issue, people of the world do not look to beijing or moscow to lead, they call us. [ applause ] so -- it's useful to level set here. because when we don't, we don't make good decisions. now, as someone who begins every
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dangerous time. but that's not primarily because of some looming superpower out there and it's certainly not because of diminished american strength. in today's world, we're threatened less by evil empires and more by failing states. the middle east is going through a transformation that will play out for a generation. rooted in conflicts that date back millenia. economic headwinds are blowing in from a chinese economy that is in significant transition. even as their economy severely contracts, russia is pouring resources into prop up ukraine and syria, client states that they saw slipping away from their orbit.
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built after world war ii is now struggling to keep pace with this new reality. it's up to us, the united states of america, to help remake that system. and to do that well, it means that we've got to set priorities. priority number one is protecting the american people and going after terrorist networks. [ applause ] both al qaeda and now isil pose a direct threat to our people because, in today's world, even a handful of terrorists who place no value on human life, including their own, can do a lot of damage.
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the minds of individuals inside our country. their actions undermine and destabilize our allies. we have to take them out. but as we focus on destroying isil, over the top claims that this is world war iii just play into their hands. masses of fighters on the back of pickup trucks, twisted souls plotting in apartments or garage s s, they pose an enormous danger to civilians. they have to be stopped. but they do not threaten our national existence. that is the story isil wants to tell. that's the kind of propaganda they use to recruit. we don't need to build them up
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and we sure don't need to push away vital allies in this fight by echoing the lie that isil is somehow representative of one of the world's largest religions. [ applause ] we just need to call them what they are. killers and fanatics, who have to be rooted out, hunted down and destroyed. [ applause ] and that's exactly what we're doing. for more than a year, america has led a coalition of more than 60 countries to cut off isil's financing, disrupt their plots,
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fighters and stamp out their vicious ideology. with nearly 10,000 air strikes, we're taking out their leadership, their oil, their training camps, their weapons. we're training, arming and supporting forces who are steadily reclaiming territory in iraq and syria. if this congress is serious about winning this war, and wants to send a message to our troops and the world, authorize the use of military force against isil. take a vote. [ applause ] but the american people should know that with or without congressional action, i sil will learn the same lessons as terrorists before them. if you doubt america's
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justice is done, just ask osama bin laden. ask the leader of al qaeda in yemen, who was taken out last year. or the perpetrator of the benghazi attacks who sits in a prison cell. when you come after americans, we go after you. and it may take time, but we have long memories, and our reach has no limits. [ applause ] our foreign policy has to be focused on the threat from isil and al qaeda. but it can't stop there. for even without isil, even without al qaeda, instability
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many parts of the world. in the middle east, in afghanistan and parts of pakistan, in parts of central america and africa and asia. some of these places may become safe havens for new terrorist networks. others will just fall victim of ethnic conflict or famine. feeding the next wave of refugees. the world will look to us to help solve these problems. and our answer needs to be more than tough talk. or calls to carpet bomb civilians. that may work as a tv sound bite, but it doesn't pass muster on the world stage. we also can't try to take over and rebuild every country that falls into crisis. even if it's done with the best
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that's not leadership. that's a recipe for a quagmire. spilling american blood and treasure that ultimately will weaken us. it's the lesson of vietnam. it's the lesson of iraq. and we should have learned it by now. [ applause ] fortunately, there is a smarter approach. a patient and disciplined strategy that uses every element of our national power. it says america will always act, alone if necessary, to protect our people and our allies. but on issues of global concern, we will mobilize the world to work with us. and make sure other countries
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that's our approach to conflicts like syria, where we're partners with local forces and leading international efforts to help that broken society pursue a lasting peace. that's why we built a global coalition with sanctions and principled diplomacy to prevent a nuclear-armed iran and as we speak, iran has rolled back its nuclear program, shipped out its uranium stockpile and the world has avoided another war. that's how -- that's how we stopped the spread of ebola in west africa. our military, our doctors, our development workers, they were heroic, they set up the platform that then allowed other countries to join in behind us
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hundreds of thousands, maybe couple million lives were saved. that's how we forged a transpacific partnership to open markets and protect workers and the environment and advance american leadership in asia. it cuts 18,000 taxes on products made in america. which will then support more good jobs here in america. china does not set the rules in that region. we do. you want to show our strength in this new century, approve this agreement. it's the right thing to do. let me give you another example. 50 years of isolating cuba had failed to promote democracy. it set us back in latin america. that's why we restored diplomatic relations.
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commerce. positioned ourselves to improve the lives of the cuban people. [ applause ] so, if you want to consolidate our leadership and credibility in the hemisphere, recognize that the cold war is over. left the embargo. [ applause ] the point is, american leadership in the 21st century is not a choice between ignoring the rest of the world, except when we kill terrorists, or occupying and rebuilding whatever society is unraveling. leadership means a wise application of military power. and rallying the world behind causes that are right. it means seeing our foreign assistance as a part of our
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separate, not charity. when we lead nearly 200 nations to the most ambitious agreement in history to fight climate change, yes, that helps vulnerable countries, but it also helps our kids. when we helped ukraine or colombia, that strengthens the international order we depend on. when we help african countries feed their people, and care for the sick, it's the right thing to do. and it prevents the next pandemic from reaching our shores. you know, right now, we're on track to end the scourge of hiv/aids. that's within our grasp. and we have the chance to accomplish the same thing with malaria. something i'll be pushing this congress to fund this year.
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that's american strength. that's american leadership. and that kind of leadership depends on the power of our example. that's why i will keep working to shut down the prison at guantanamo. it is expensive, it is unnecessary and it only serves as a recruitment brochure for our enemies. there's a better way. and that's why we need to reject any politics -- any politics -- that targets people because of race or religion. all right, let me just say this -- [ applause ]
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political correctness. this is a matter of understanding just what it is that makes us strong. the world respects us not just for our arsenal. it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith. his holiness pope francis told this body, from the very spot that i'm standing on tonight, that to imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. when politicians insult muslims, whether abroad or our fellow
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vandalized or a kid is called name names, that doesn't make us safer. that's not telling it like it is. it's just wrong. it diminishes us in the eyes of the world. it makes it harder to achieve our goals. it betrays who we are as a country. [ applause ] we the people, our constitution begins with those three simple words. words we've come to recognize mean all the people, not just some.
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fall together. that's how we might perfect our union. and that brings me to the fourth and maybe most important thing that i want to say tonight. the future we want, all of us want, opportunity and security for our families, a rising standard of living. a sustainable, peaceful planet for our kids, all that is within our reach. but it will only happen if we work together. it will only happen if we can have rational, constructive debates. it will only happen if we fix our politics. a better politics doesn't mean
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this is a big country. different regions, different attitudes, different interests. that's one of our strengths, too. our founders distributed power between states and branches of government. and expected us to argue, just as they did. fiercely. over the size and shape of government. over commerce and foreign relations. over the meaning of liberty and the imperatives of security. but democracy does require basic bonds of trust between its citizens. it doesn't work if we think the people who disagree with us are all motivated by malice. it doesn't work if we think that our political opponents are
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or trying to weaken america. democracy grinds to a halt without a willingness to compromise. or when even basic facts are contested. or when we listen only to those who agree with us. our public life withers when only the most extreme voices get all the attention. and most of all, democracy breaks down when the average person feels their voice doesn't matter. that the system is rigged in favor of the rich or the powerful or some special interest. too many americans feel that way right now. it's one of the few regrets of my presidency, that the suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better. i have no doubt, a president with the gifts of lincoln or roosevelt might have better
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and i guarantee, i'll keep trying to be better, so long as i hold this office. but my fellow americans, this cannot be my task or any president president president's alone. there are a whole lot of folks in this chamber, good people, who would like to see more cooperation. would like to see a more elevated debate in washington. but feel trapped by the imperatives of getting elected. by the noise coming out of your base. i know, you've told me. it's the worst kept secret in washington. and a lot of you aren't enjoying being trapped in that kind of ran rancor. that means, if we want a better politics, and i'm addressing the
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a better politics, it's not enough just to change a congressman or a senator or even change a president. we have to change the system to reflect our better selves. i think we've got to end the practice of drawing our congressional districts so that politicians can pick their voters and not the other way around. let a bipartisan group do it. [ applause ] i believe we've got to reduce the influence of money in our politics so that a handful of families or hidden interests can't bankroll our elections. [ applause ] and if our existing approach to campaign finance reform can't past muster in the courts, we need to find a real solution,
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raising money. i know. i've done it. vote. not harder. we need to modernize it to the way we live now. [ applause ] this is america. we want to make it easier for people to participate. and over the course of this year, i intend to travel the country to push for reforms that do just that. but i can't do these things on my own. changes in our political process and not just who gets elected, but how they get elect eded, that
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american people demand it. it depends on you. that's what's meant by a government of, by and for the people. what i'm suggesting is hard. it's a lot easier to be cynical. to accept that change is not possible. and politics is hopeless. and the problem is -- all the folks who are elected don't care. and to believe that our voices and our actions don't matter. but if we give up now, then we fore sake a foresake a better future. those with money and power will gain greater control over the decisions that could send a young soldier to war. or allow another economic disaster.
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and voting rights that generations of americans have fought, even died to secure. and then, as frustration grows, there will be voices urging us to fall back into our respective tribes, to scapegoat fellow citizens who don't look like us or pray like us or vote like we do. or share the same backgrounds. we can't afford to go down that path. it won't deliver the economy we want. it will not produce the security we want. but most of all, it contradicts everything that makes us the envy of the world. so, my fellow americans, whatever you may believe, whether you prefer one party or no party, whether you supported my agenda or fought as hard as
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collective futures depends on your willingness to uphold your duties as a citizen. to vote. to speak out. to stand up for others. especially the weak. especially the vulnerable. knowing that each of us is only here because somebody somewhere stood up for us. [ applause ] we need every american to stay active in our public life and not just during election time. so that our public life reflects the goodness and the decency that i see in the american
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it is not easy. our brand of democracy is hard. but i can promise that a little over a year from now, when i no longer hold this office, i will be right there with us as a citizen, inspired by those voices of fairness and vision, of grit and good humor and kindness that have helped america travel so far. voices that help us see ourselves not first and foremost as black and white or asian, not as gay or straight, immigrant or native born, not democrat or republican republican, but as americans first. bound by a common creed. voices dr. king believed would
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voices of unarmed truth and unconditional love. and they're out there, those voices. they don't get a lot of attention. they don't seek a lot of fanfare. but they're busy doing the work this country needs doing. i see them everywhere i travel in this incredible country of ours. i see you, the american people, and in your daily acts of citizenship, i see our future unfolding. i see it in the worker on the assembly line who clocked extra shifts to keep his company open. and the boss who pays him higher wages instead of laying inging him off. i see it in the dreamer who stays up late at night to finish her science project, and the teacher who comes in early, maybe with some extra supplies
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knows that that young girl might some day cure a disease. i see it in the american who served his time, made bad mistakes as a child, but now is dreaming of starting over. and i see it in the business owner who gives him that second chance. the protester determined to prove that justice matters and the young cop walking the beat, treating everybody with respect. doing the brave, quiet work of keeping us safe. i see it in the soldier who gives almost everything to save his brothers. the nurse who tends to him until he can run a marathon. the community that lines up to cheer him on. it's the son who finds the
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and the father whose love for that son overrides everything he's been taught. i see it in the elderly woman who will wait in line to cast her vote as long as she has to. the new citizen who cast ss his vote for the first time. the volunteers at the polls who believe every vote should count. because each of them, in different ways, know how much that precious right is worth. that's the america i know. that's the country we love. clear-eyed, big-hearted, undaunted by challenge, optimistic that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. that's what makes me so hopeful about our future.
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believe in you. the american people. and that's why i stand here as confident as i have ever been that the state of our union is strong. thank you. god bless you. god bless the united states of america. >> president obama wrapping up his final state of the union, coming in just under an hour. president laying out four big questions he wants the american people to answer in the future. hitting many different notes. his most impassioned, when he said that america spoke out against the idea that america's gotten weaker on his watch. most humble when he talked about his regrets, his regret that the suspicion between the parties has only grown while he is in office and you just saw him right there, his most emotional, when he talked about those
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day and make this america day and make this america strong. i want to go to jon karl in the chamber, right by where the president was speaking. one other aspect of this speech, the president said it would be different. one thing that seemed to be different here watching it on television, i wondered what it felt like in the room, not a lot of tension in that hall, perhaps up until the end. >> it was remarkably subdued in this hall. i've been here for almost all of the president's state of the union addresses, and this one, by far, seemed the most subdued. there wasn't a lot of tension, you're right. there was much less in the way of specifics. that's probably a big part of it. but also, the applause lines were quieter, in large part because there are simply fewer democrats and most of the applause, as it is often in these state of the union addresses, you know, came solely from the president's party and there are simply fewer of them. but there was one really interesting moment, george, that i thought was directly aimed at this presidential race and that's when the president said,
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that targets people because of race or religion. at that moment, you saw paul ryan stand up to applaud and you saw significant amount of applause on the republican side of the aisle and, to me, watching that, that seemed to be a message from some of these republicans to the current front-runner in the republican race. >> there was a lot of applause for that line, as the president went down, seemed to call out mr. trump, not by name, but more specifically on his calls to ban muslims. we've already seen a response from donald trump on a tweet. he said, he found the state of the union speech really boring, slow, lethargic, very hard to watch. but david muir, "world news tonight" anchor, as jon karl just said right there, a couple of places where the president stepped right up to the line of naming donald trump, clearly stepped out and called out his politics. >> no question, george. in fact, when you heard the president say, when a politician insults muslims, when mosques are vandalized, that doesn't
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just wrong, he said, it makes us weaker in the world. and just to pick up on something that struck you, george, as well, was that moment in the room, when he was addressing the millions of americans watching tonight, but lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, when he said one of the few regrets of my presidency is that the suspicion has gotten worse, rather than better and he went on to talk about being trapped by your base. i found that very interesting that in talking, particularly during this political season, about the politics of extremism in this country, saying, you know, the only way to get out of being trapped by your base is to do something about it yourself. so, at least that part of the state of the union seemed directly aimed at both republicans and democrats in that hall. >> echoes there, david muir, of the president's speech, the speech that brought him on the national stage back in 2004 when he was the keynoter for john kerry at the democratic convention. i want to go to donna brazile. you've been following this president for a long time,
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for a long time. and this was wrapping up many of the themes of his campaigns and his presidency. >> george, i thought his speech embodied just the vision that he laid out back in 2004, the determination as a president in 2009, to change our politics to come to washington, d.c. to sack chul actually fix things and the president that decided, you know, there was so much he could do with congress, but rather, he went ahead and began to fight for the american people, turning the economy around, health care, so millions of americans now have access to it. i thought his speech, the tone, the delivery, the style, it was really exciting. a good exclamation point for seven great years and one last thing, george, the president tonight said he's not finished. he's going to continue to fight. and he's going to start by trying to fix our politics. i liked that approach, as well. >> not sure what's going to happen before the election, but hue high high
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from your listeners on the radio, republican conservative listeners, what are they going to take away from this? >> some unworldliness. my friend donna and i heard different speeches. when the president said the cold war wasn't over, i was thinking, the people in cryimea, i thought of of the status of forces. and he didn't mention the ten sailors captured in iran tonight. i'm kind of perplexed, george, by this speech, and subdued is probably the reaction you get when a lot of people look at a man who might have been a great president and say so much was not accomplished because he chose the road of division that he himself denounced tonight. >> other worldly from hugh hewitt. matthew dowd, i said at the top of the show, 70% of americans think we're going in the wrong direction. >> i don't think the president moved anybody, in his words, on either side of the tribes. the folks that believe the country is off on the wrong track aren't going to accept
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are going to love his speech. i think the problem he has, the thing he mentioned at the end, still existed. it started in his presidency and ends his presidency, political conflict and discord is worse now, as he admitted, than it's ever been before. that speech is not going toe fix that. >> america, the final year, martha raddatz, still mired in conflicts overseas, again, as i said, the president seemed so 'em passion impassioned when he spoke against the idea that america is weaker and that direct challenge, if you feel so strongly about this, give me an authorization to use force. >> and authorization of military force, you have prorp, speaker ryan said to a group of reporters this morning that it didn't have what was necessary in his aumf draft because he didn't talk about committing large ground forces and they thought that would tie the hands of his successor. also, talking about isil, when he said, the over the top claims
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play into their hands. he was trying to walk that line tonight between taking it seriously and not scaring people. the problem is, he has underestimated underestimated isis in the past. >> how about a reality check on the various markers of progress he said we've been making overseas in iraq and syria over the last -- >> there are certainly markers of progress, but when he talks about those pickup trucks and he talks about the groups of isis running around in those pickup trucks, don't threaten our national existence, well, those men in pickup trucks tonight still are in charge of mosul in iraq, they are still in charge of huge swaths in syria. yes, there's progress. but there's not enough progress yet. and you still have those large swaths of the country, and safe havens for isis right now. >> and pierre thomas, you cover this, this president also knows that another attack of some sort is likely.
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isis sending out 90,000 messages a day, and they know many of those are coming inside the united states, it's a current and imminent threat. the fbi has roughly 900 terrorist investigations under way right now. many of those involve isis. >> cokie, the president did seem legitimately humbled by his failure. he didn't use the world failure, he used regret, but that failure to fix our politics. >> and said maybe a lincoln or roosevelt could have, and actually -- >> setting a high bar there. >> couldn't in their time, either, just to say. but look, his basic theme was, we're strong because we're diverse. we're strong because we can accept change. change is only going to accelerate. and we have to grab hold of it and do what america has always done, which is to go forward with it and embrace it. and that is very different from what we've been hearing on the campaign trail. >> and on the campaign trail,
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he's going to stay out of the democratic primary fight, but he seemed to be itching to get into the general election fight. >> he sure did, george. and i love the line at the very beginning, that promising he was going to make it a short speech, because i know some of you are antsy to get back to iowa. there are four senators running for president, only two of them managed to make it here to this speech today, the others out campaigning. but marco rubio was on the floor, bernie sanders on the floor. and i think this president is very much geared up or as he might say, fired up and ready to go for the next campaign. >> you could feel it, you could see it in the speech, of course, you got two democrats now fighting to replace him, bernie sanders and hillary clinton. we're going to be getting the republican response in just a few minutes. stay with us. next, south carolina governor nickykki haley, a rising star in the gop, the nation's youngest governor.
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abc news live coverage of the state of the union and the republican response, connected
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live from our nation's capital, here again, george stephanopoulos. >> we heard from the president, just about a minute, the republican response, governor nikki haley of south carolina, republican of south carolina, the first female governor of south carolina, the first nonwhite governor of south carolina. and ironically, she said she got inspired to run for office because of hillary clinton in 2003, she heard clinton give a speech, saying women should get more involved in politics.
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that's exactly what she decided to do. this is a thankless task, to get the response. but the republicans figuring she's the governor of south carolina, important early primary state, everybody's got to be nice to her. >> she's on the speed dial of 13 people that are running for president right now that want to call her at all possible moments. she is also, i think, on the short list of many of the candidates, if they were to get the gop nomination, she would be on that list to be selected as the vice presidential nominee. >> she is going to be mentioned many, many times and now we're going to hear from her, the governor of south carolina, nicky hayleyhaley. >> good evening. i'm nicky haykki haley, governor of the great state of south carolina. i'm speaking tonight from columbia, our state's capital city. much like america as a whole, our state has a rich and complicated history. one that proves the idea that each day can be better than the
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in just a minute, i'm going to talk about a vision of a brighter american future, but first, i want to say a few words about president obama, who just gave his final state of the union address. barack obama's election as president seven years ago broke historic barriers and inspired millions of americans. as he did when he first ran for office, tonight, president obama spoke eloquently about grand things. he's at his best when he does that. unfortunately, the president's record has often fallen far short of his soaring words. as he enters his final year in office, many americans are still feeling the squeeze of an economy too weak to raise income levels. we're feeling a crushing national debt. a health care plan that has made insurance less affordable and doctors less available. and chaotic unrest in many of our cities. even worse, we are facing the
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our nation has seen since september 11th. and this president appears unwilling or unable to deal with it. soon, the obama presidency will end and america will have the chance to turn in a new direction. that direction is what i want to talk about tonight. at the outset, i'll say this. you've paid attention to what has been happening in washington. and you're not naive. neither am i. i see what you see. and many of your frustrations are my frustrations. a frustration with a government that has grown day after day, year after year, yet doesn't serve us any better. a frustration with the same endless conversations we hear over and over again. a frustration with promises made and never kept. we need to be honest with each other and with ourselves.
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bear much responsibility for the problems facing america today, they do not bear it alone. there is more than enough blame to go around. we as republicans need to own that truth. we need to recognize our contributions to the erosion of the public trust in america's leadership. we need to accept that we've played a role in how and why our government is broken. and then, we need to fix it. the foundation that has made america that last best hope on earth hasn't gone anywhere, it still exists. it's up to us to return to it. for me, that starts right where it always has. i am the proud daughter of indian immigrants who reminded my brothers, my sister and me every day how blessed we were to live in this country. growing up in the rural south, my family didn't look like our neighbors and we didn't have much.
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tough, but we had each other and we had the opportunity to do anything, to be anything, as long as we were willing to work for it. my story is really not much different from millions of other americans. immigrants have been coming to our shores for generations, to live the dream that is america. they wanted better for their children than for themselves. that remains the dream of all of us and in this country, we have seen time and again that that dream is achievable. today, we live in a time of threats like few others in recent memory. during anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. we must resist that temptation. no one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country.
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mean we just flat-out open our borders. we can't do that. we cannot continue to allow immigrants to come here illegally, and in this age of terrorism, we must not let in refugees whose intentions cannot be determined. we must fix our broken immigration system. that means stopping illegal immigration and it means welcoming properly vetted legal immigrants, regardless of their race or religion, just like we have for centuries. i have no doubt that if we act with proper focus, we can protect our borders, our sovereignty and our citizens, all while remaining true to america's noblist legacies. this past summer, south carolina was dealt a tragic blow. on an otherwise ordinary wednesday evening in june, at the historic mother emanuel
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faithful men and women, young and old, went to bible study. that night, someone new joined them. he didn't look like them, didn't act like them, didn't sound like them. they didn't throw him out. they didn't call the police. instead, they pulled up a chair and prayed with him for an hour. we lost nine incredible souls that night. what happened after the tragedy is worth pausing to think about. our state was struck with shock, pain and fear, but our people would not allow hate to win. we didn't have violence, we had vigils. we didn't have riot, we had hugs. we didn't turn against each other's race or religion, we turned toward god and to the values that have long made our country the freest and greatest in the world.
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being used to divide us, and we
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